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Call of the Day

Here’s a paraphrased message left on my machine this afternoon: “Would you please use your political influence internally to stop the paper from writing stories about humans hurting other humans?”

Gee, that pretty much puts an end to the political beat, doesn’t it?

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Pombo competitiveness rating drops

The National Journal dropped the competitiveness rating nine places in its handicapping of the Congressional District 11 race between Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, and Democrat Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton. The ranking dropped from the 34th most competitive to 43. (The top ranked race is Congressional District 1 in Iowa.)

The shift reflects the general consensus among national political pundits watching congressional races that Pombo will have little trouble outpacing McNerney, who handily beat the more moderate Steve Filson in the primary.

Don’t expect McNerney to adopt that philosophy as his own. He says he will campaign hard to show Washington Democrats that he is a worthy candidate. By that, McNerney means he wants them to invest in his race.

Roll Call, the Washington, D.C.-based newspaper that covers The Hill, reported this week that McNerney is scheduling meetings with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.

But Democratic strategists predict the national support won’t materialize. The party needs to take 15 seats in November to take control of the House of Representatives, and they say they will put their money only in the most competitive districts.

It appears McNerney will still have his environmental friends. The Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund all say they intend to keep the heat on Pombo during the general election. These organizations spent in excess of $300,000 in the primary, mostly on anti-Pombo radio ads and billboards.

In the meantime, Pombo will have no shortage of cash. As of May 17, he had $800,000 in the bank. Combined with his status as a seven-term incumbent and his 7-percentage-point party registration advantage, he will be a formidable challenger.

Speaking of campaign money, here’s a breakdown of what the candidates raised and spent as of May 17. (We’ll find out the candidates’ total expenditures and contributions related to the primary in the next report, which covers May 18-June 30. It’s due July 15, 2006.)

REPUBLICANS:
RICHARD POMBO: Raised $1.7 million; spent $1 million
PETE MCCLOSKEY: Raised $387,492; spent $252,803

DEMOCRATS
JERRY MCNERNEY: Raised $231,158; spent $175,624
STEVE FILSON: Raised $384,146; spent $319,138

For a look at the Federal Election Commission filings yourself, click here.

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Apologies!

Please accept my apologies for what must have appeared to be a serious neglect of such a fledgling blog. We experienced severe technical problems related to the server where the blog lives. God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be back in busines today.

You’ll also notice that all the comments folks posted have disappeared. We hope to restore them as soon as possible.

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The governor is coming to Antioch

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is coming to Antioch Thursday morning as part of his “Protecting the California Dream” tour, the name he has given his re-election campaign.

He’ll be at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Antioch at 10 a.m.

The guv is also expected to say some really nice things about Arne Simonsen, the Antioch city councilman running for Assembly District 11.

We can read the signs already, “Arnie’s for Arne!”

Not that such a link is a big political stretch. They are both fiscal conservatives and social liberals.

But Schwarzenegger is a serious contender and Simonsen, well, he’s got a lot of weight to lift if he expects to win. Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one in Assembly District 11.

He will face Contra Costa County Supervisor Mark DeSaulnier, who beat out three challengers Tuesday for the Democratic nomination.

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Rep. George Miller revives Marianas bill

Rep. George Miller of Martinez, ranking Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, has introduced legislation today that would impose U.S. labor and immigration laws on the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.

Miller has spent years pushing unsuccessfully for the reform of working conditions on this group of islands in the Philippine Sea where news reports have uncovered sweat shops and worker exploitation.
But Miller said that former GOP leader Rep. Tom DeLay and convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff fended off such reforms for years.

Now that DeLay is leaving Congress Friday and Abramoff is headed to prison later this month, Miller and other lawmakers hope to revive interest in the plight of Marianas workers.

The bill’s fate is highly uncertain.

The legislation falls under the jurisdiction of the House Resources Committee and its chairman, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy.

Miller has asked Pombo repeatedly to investigate Marianas conditions.

But Pombo, who has visited the Marianas on congressional business, has said such hearings would accomplish little except to provide members a chance to posture. Instead, he has referred to the matter to the Department of Justice.

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Rep. Ellen Tauscher fires fund-raiser

Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, fired her Washington, D.C., fund-raising consulting firm this week after she learned the firm failed to report several contributions of $1,000 or more within the 48-hour notification period required prior to an election.

The disclosures should have been filed June 4 but were filed instead on June 5.

“I have consistently supported campaign finance reform and a more transparent process so voters are fully informed of who is contributing to a candidate,” she said in a prepared statement.

The firm is Fraioli & Associates.

Tauscher had no primary opponent in Tuesday’s election but she will have an opponent in the November general election: Republican Darcy Pearl Linn of Pleasant Hill.